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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, October 9, 2019
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

No shots against MassKara fever

Ninfa Leonardia

A bit of good news for October – fuel prices went down yesterday by quite a big step. Gasoline went down by P0.80, diesel by P1. and kerosene by P1.15 per liter. So it’s a good time to fill ‘er up, and enjoy the discount that may not last long. Since the coming days will be fiesta days for Bacolod and its visitors, expect the traffic to be heavy, which means you might be using up a lot of fuel before getting to your destination.

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But not so good is the news that the approval ratings of our two top officials have gone down according to a survey by Pulse Asia. Seems the President’s “grade” that was 85 percent last June, has gone down to 78 in September. As for the Vice President, her rating of 55 percent in June, sank to 50 last month. That is surprising, because the VP is hardly seen and heard, since she does not seem to have functions that people could monitor for rating her. Anyway, it seems to be “dropping season” for our officials and it should be a clarion call for them to sit up, because the year is nearing its end.

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Meanwhile, I hope the latest news from the International Criminal Court, or ICC, will not make the President’s newly identified ailment of myasthenia gravis worse. The ICC has focused its investigation on the President after a group called “Rise Up” filed charges against him for alleged crimes against humanity. I suppose they are referring to the anti-drug campaign, especially in the early days of the Duterte Administration, when the term EJK, or Extra-Judicial Killings became notorious.

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It seems the group is zeroing in on the President alone and are not running after other suspects. Their charges against him include “committing, ordering and tolerating acts of murder and other inhumane acts”. And they are running to the ICC because the President cannot be charged in the Philippines. Anyway, the President should not worry. He should just listen to his spokesman, Salvador Panelo, who brushes them off, saying the case is “doomed from the very start”. But that is Panelo, not Duterte’s lawyers speaking.

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The MassKara fever is in the air! Well, it is not something we need to be inoculated against, because it is going to bring happiness and enjoyment to a lot of people as well as income to our businesses. Furthermore, it will also draw out all the artistic gifts of Bacoleños, who will be wracking their brains for the presentations they will offer to the thousands of visitors expected to flock to the city for those days of color and fun.

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Already, some of the activities related to it have began and I think the happiest entities are local hotels that, I hear, have been fully booked months before. Local eateries, too, are readying their most popular offerings to entice the visitors flocking in on those days. And because it is a landmark for the celebration, being now its 40 th, there is a a stronger feeling of remembrance of how it all started. But let’s leave the reminiscences to the time when our visitors and new tourists start coming, to share with them the romantic as well as sentimental background of our now world famous “fiesta”.

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I had not seen the much-criticized mask set up at the Public Plaza of Bacolod, only its picture, but I agree with those who did not like it since it looked sad. Indeed, the MassKara’s original intention was for a cover for the sad state of our city and province 40 years ago, when it went through several heart-breaking incidents that caused a pall of gloom over its people. The sinking of the vessel Don Juan caused the death of hundreds from Bacolod and Negros Occidental, the sugar industry was in the doldrums, so many tragic incidents were taking place, we became a mournful city and province.

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That was when the idea came up of holding a festival that would cheer our people up and change their mournful looks to smiles. Hence the creation of the MassKara festival, where participants covered their faces with smiling masks that, somehow infected those who participated with their gaiety. Whoever designed that unsmiling mask that got such criticism must not have known its origins, so the “origs” had to make their reactions known. So don’t forget to smile, especially when the MassKara season is on.*

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